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Cisco Acquires Virtuata for Cloud Security

July 18 2012 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco News

We caught up with tech-industry analyst Zeus Kerravala for feedback on Cisco's acquisition of Virtuata. He believes Virtuata fits in well with Cisco's overall acquisition strategy, which inks big deals and small deals when necessary to fill out its portfolio. In fact, Cisco has acquired five companies this year, four of them focused on the data center and networking.

 virtuata.png

Cisco quietly acquired a privately held company that has been developing capabilities for securing virtual and cloud environments. Cisco did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

 

Virtuata secures machine level information in data centers and cloud environments. Together, Cisco and Virtuata will enable consistent and enhanced security for virtual machines allowing customers to accelerate the deployment of multi-tenant, multi-hypervisor cloud infrastructures, according to Hilton Romanski, a vice president and head of Cisco's Corporate Business Development.

 

Filling Out UCS

"Cloud and virtualization are significant disrupters in the market. When customers move to these environments, security concerns arise where infrastructure is shared across multiple applications, business units or even organizations," Romanski said.

 

"As more and more business applications move to virtualized platforms, security and isolation become necessary conditions at the virtual machine level. This acquisition is highly complementary to Cisco's vision of a unified data center that securely connects people and businesses with applications and data through virtual and cloud environments."

 

Cisco is acquiring both the technology and the talent that makes up Virtuata. The company said the combination offers a unique infrastructure expertise in virtualization, cloud and security domains to Cisco's data center and cloud product portfolio, including its Unified Computing System (UCS) and Nexus-based Unified Fabric portfolio.

 

Cisco's UCS is a converged data center platform that delivers programmable infrastructure in bare-metal, virtualized and cloud computing environments. The system integrates Cisco servers and network and I/O resources into one system.

 

The Right Security Move

"The Virtuata acquisition reinforces Cisco's build, buy, partner innovation framework and supports our strategy of providing best-in-class solutions for our customers," Romanski said. "It is well-aligned to our strategic goals to develop innovative virtualization, cloud and security technologies, while also cultivating top talent."

 

We caught up with Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on the small acquisition. He told us Virtuata fits in well with Cisco's overall acquisition strategy, which inks big deals and small deals when necessary to fill out its portfolio. Cisco has acquired five companies this year. Four of them have been focused on the data center and networking.

 

"This fits squarely into the cloud and data center space, which has been a big focus for Cisco. That's the area of IT that's been the most opportunistic right now because you've got this coming together of compute, storage and networking gear. Almost all vendors in that space, be it Dell, HP or Cisco, are fighting for more and more footprint," Kerravala said.

 

"With security being by far the biggest inhibitor to broader cloud adoption, this is probably the right move for Cisco to make. I think Virtuata is a good addition to its cloud portfolio. It makes a lot of sense for them."

---Original news reading sci-tech-today.com

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Cisco Changes Privacy Policy for Linksys Routers after Uproar

July 3 2012 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco News

Cisco Systems said a privacy policy for the Cisco Connect Cloud service that alarmed some customers was a mistake and has been removed.

 

The cloud service, which among other things allows users of some Wi-Fi home routers to manage their devices from away from home, went live last week and was included in an automatic firmware update to those routers. That brought a flood of complaints to online forums about both the firmware update and the privacy document, which said Cisco might track and share information about customers' Internet use and other data.

 

"We removed content that could have been misinterpreted as being inconsistent with Cisco's privacy statement based on a selective analysis," Cisco said in a statement.

 

"In a nutshell, this was just a mistake," Cisco spokesman David McCulloch said.

 

The specific privacy policy for the cloud service is contained in a "Cisco Connect Cloud Supplement," that expands upon Cisco's general corporate privacy policy. There is a link to the supplement on the right side of the general privacy page. Parts of the supplement, including the reference to collecting Internet history, have been removed. McCulloch said he could not immediately explain how the stricken language was included by mistake.

 

Some users of the Linksys EA3500 and EA4500 routers wrote on online forums last week that Cisco apparently had updated the firmware on their routers automatically without their consent. The new firmware prompted them to start managing their routers through the Cisco Connect Cloud service, which administers a router over the Internet instead of directly over the wireless LAN. Some users said they weren't able to keep managing their routers locally except through a limited interface that lacked features they were used to.

 

Along the way, one user pointed out a section of the privacy policy for Cisco Connect Cloud that said the company might keep track of a variety of information including Internet history and might share "aggregated and anonymous user experience information" with service providers and other third parties.

 

The updated privacy supplement for the cloud service says, "Cisco may collect and store detailed information regarding your network configuration and usage for the purpose of providing you technical networking support." It says that data will be associated with the customer only when he or she provides an ID number, randomly generated and under the user's control, to the support representative.

 

An administrator on the Cisco Home Community forum subsequently posted a link to instructions for downgrading the routers' firmware and opting out of future automatic upgrades.

 

But Cisco also responded to the complaints with a dedicated post to its official blog on Friday.

"Cisco Connect Cloud was delivered only to consumers who opted in to automatic updates. However, we apologize that the opt-out process for Cisco Connect Cloud and automatic updates was not more clear in this product release, and we are developing an updated version that will improve this process," Cisco Home Networking Vice President and General Manager Brett Wingo wrote in the blog post. The post directed customers who wanted to return to the traditional Linksys management software to call the Linksys customer support line.

 

The blog post also partly addressed the questions about the privacy policy but didn't say the "Cisco Connect Cloud Supplement" had been changed. McCullough said on Monday that the blog might be updated.

 

 Linksys is a brand used on products from Cisco's Home Networking Business Unit.

 

---Reading resource from pcworld.com

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Cisco's Wireless Unit Shifts Emphasis to "Mobility"

May 22 2012 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco News

Cisco's Wireless Networking Business Unit doesn't actually talk so much about wireless networking these days. Increasingly, its message aimed at IT groups is about the broader concept of "mobility."
Cisco-s-Wireless-Unit-Shifts-Emphasis-to-Mobility.jpg
The change, not only for Cisco but its rivals, reflects the fact that mobile workers are no longer focused simply on replacing an Ethernet cable with a Wi-Fi signal and being able to carry their corporate laptop to the conference room. The real question has become: what can they, and the company, and the company's customers, now do once they've made that replacement?

"Connecting a device to my corporate network is just step one. The question is: what happens after that?" says Sujai Hajela, vice president/general manager of Cisco's wireless networking business unit, who spoke with Network World this week regarding Cisco's announcement of three new pre-tested bundles of products and services designed to cut through the confusing complexity of enterprise mobility.

The new Smart Solutions packages are by themselves not exactly new: they're formed of existing Cisco hardware and software, third-party partnerships, and consulting services from Cisco or its partners. But Cisco says they represent a shift in the company's thinking about how to deploy mobile technology for businesses. Instead of a grab bag of separate products, the new approach sees mobility, in effect, as a whole that's greater than the sum of its many parts, including devices, operating systems, apps, Wi-Fi access points, VPNs, authentication and security. The overarching enterprise benefit, according to Cisco, is summed up in a new term, "Cisco Unified Workspace."

BACKGROUNDCisco mobility bundles target BYOD, mobile virtual desktop

"Enterprises are looking at the next generation of users coming into their ranks," says Tim Zimmerman, principal analyst for network services and infrastructure with market watcher Gartner. "Most of them don't even know what an RJ-45 plug is. The iPad doesn't even have one. There's a presumption of wireless connectivity [being available anywhere, anytime]. That puts more responsibility on IT organizations to manage that."

Cisco's main challenge in the enterprise market, he says, is execution and optimization - in effect, turning PowerPoint slides of talking points into concrete capabilities that enterprises buy into and then buy to mobilize business.

Cisco still dominates the enterprise wireless LAN landscape, but its dominance is less complete than it was a few years ago. By revenues, Cisco's share of the total worldwide market for enterprise WLAN equipment is now about 50%, down from the more than 60% it commanded for years, according to IDC. Its nearest rival, publicly held Aruba Networks, finally broke into a double-digit share of global revenues only last year, capturing 11.5% according to IDC.

Cisco continues to invest heavily in radio frequency technologies, leveraging its own Wi-Fi chip designs with Cisco-developed, on-chip code to boost signal reliability and consistency, and throughput. The focus is less on raw chip-level data rates, though that's important, and more on optimizing the connection to provide the reliability, security and throughput of a wired Ethernet link.

Cisco's Hajela, who formerly ran Motorola's WLAN group and came over to his current job at Cisco in August 2011, sometimes sounds like a network version of Dr. Phil. "More and more of our messaging is about customer 'care-abouts,'" he says at one point. And at another point, "The end user is looking for an uncompromised experience, regardless of the network" connectivity.

These bromides actually mean something, and Hajela becomes specific and insistent when pressed. "The network doesn't matter to the user," he says. "What he wants is to be able to use his app wherever he is."

And that use must be optimal. "If my device and my network connection support high-def video, then I should get high-def video," he says. "And if I'm using a smartphone, I should get optimal battery life. These things should be handled by intelligence placed in the network."

Cisco's job is to cram more and more intelligence into the networks and applications and infrastructure that supports the enterprise's mobile users and mobile business.

"What's really resonating with enterprise IT is this: the system looks at who the user is, and what he's trying to do, rather than how he's connecting" by wire or wireless, Hajela says.

Cisco's Identity Services Engine (ISE) is a key part of this approach, identifying and authenticating users regardless of how they connect, and adjusting their access and security privileges based on variables such as their location, connectivity, and time of day. [See "Cisco enterprise management tools take on new network realities".] Tightly integrated with ISE is Cisco Prime Network Control System (NCS), which replaced the standalone Wireless Control System management application for Cisco WLANs, and creates single console for managing both wired and wireless.

The need for such an approach "just plain makes sense," commented Network World wireless blogger Craig Mathias in a post about NCS. "Along with [unified] security and integrity comes a fundamental need to handle the ever-increasing capacity demanded by an ever-growing population of wireless users with equally-demanding applications," he wrote. "A single-pane management console adds convenience, lowers cost (Cisco points out that generalists with the right tools can be just as productive as more-expensive specialists), and just plain makes sense...."

Cisco isn't the only WLAN supplier taking this unifying or converging approach, as Gartner's Zimmerman points out. "We see this in HP, in Aruba, which is now offering a [LAN] switch along with end-to-end, multivendor support," he says. "Vendors are addressing the multiple elements within this infrastructure layer."

The reality is that Cisco faces a rapidly changing enterprise mobile environment, and enterprise customers have plenty of options. Earlier this month, Aruba announced that Texas A&M University, a major Cisco shop, is replacing its existing Cisco WLAN with Aruba's products, after extensive testing. The school will eventually install 6,000 to 7,000 Aruba 802.11n access points, along with Aruba's AirWave wired/wireless network management application.

---Original reading appeared in networkworld.com

 

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Cisco Touts Universal Power Over Ethernet (PoE)

May 14 2012 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco News

For over 12 years there have been two ways of getting electricity to devices on your network: From an electrical outlet or from an Ethernet jack using Power over Ethernet.

With the release last year by Cisco Systems Inc. of what it calls Universal PoE, a proprietary version which delivers 60 Watts of power per port over an Ethernet line, the company believes it has opened new opportunities for manufacturers of almost everything that runs of electricity to plug in via Category 5 cable.Cisco-network-copy-1.jpg

On Tuesday, Samsung Electronics showed confidence in the technology by announcing an UPoE version of its desktop monitor for virtual desktops, the 22-inch NC220P.

It is expected to hit the market at the end of May, with a projected street price of US$774.

When it was introduced -- by Cisco -- in 2000, Power over Ethernet offered a mere 7 Watts of power. Common PoE devices are desktop IP phones and wireless access points. Over the years PoE has reached the ability to deliver 30 Watts over Ethernet.

By doubling that UPoE offers more possibilities. However, it is available only by plugging a module into a Cisco Catalyst 4500E switch, which then connects to approved devices.

In a conference call with reporters, Joe Angelo, a Samsung business development manager said the NC220P integrates a thin client into the monitor, taking its power and data over one Ethernet cable.

It has four USB ports, a DVI-out port for a second display and headphone and microphone connections.

Angelo said target markets include governments, hospitals and schools.

Pradeep Parmar, a senior Cisco marketing manager, said the announcement is more evidence of the acceptance of large organizations of UPoE and how widely it can be used.

For example, he said, UPoE could power telepresence systems or high power surveillance cameras.

Parmar also brought onto the conference call an official from a Japanese company, which is using UPoE for LED office lighting instead of fluorescent lights. Connected to Cisco's Energywise power monitoring software, the solution can make dramatic savings in electricity.

Also on the call was Dwight Holmberg, a regional manager with FieldServer Technologies of Milpitas , Calif., who said the company's gateway for connecting building automation systems can leverage UPoE.

According to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, UPoE is another example of how Cisco tailors a technology to keep ahead of competitors. No other network equipment maker has adopted UPoE or its approach, he said.

"For Cisco, it's important with so much talk out there about the wired network being dead because of all the wireless end points," Kerravala added. "If they can find a whole group of other devices that can connect to the network that aren't traditional PCs, that opens the door for them to open the overall market for wired switches."

---Cisco News quoted from pcworld.com

 

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Cisco Announces Intent to Data Analysis Software Provider Truviso

May 7 2012 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco News

Cisco announced that it plans to acquire network analytics company Truviso for an undisclosed amount, in an effort to help users hone operational efficiencies. (Based in Foster City, Calif., Truviso provides scalable, real-time network data analysis and reporting software.) Cisco-and-Truviso.jpg

"With the growth of end-user devices and applications, and in turn the proliferation of large amounts of network data, service providers and enterprise customers are looking for ways to better understand usage and differentiate their service offerings," Hilton Romanski, vice-president and head of corporate business development at Cisco. "Truviso's continuous query technology allows companies to get detailed information and visibility of network use and services in real-time, with its analyse-first, store-later capability."

Truviso's software analytics further strengthens Cisco's network management platform, Cisco Prime, with the core technology to gather and analyze streaming data.

"Customers want to be able to tap into and better analyze the enormous volume of data traversing their networks to identify ways to enhance services and generate new revenue opportunities," said Jamie Lerner, vice president and general manager, Cisco Network Management Technology Group. "Embedding Truviso's real time business intelligence into the network will help customers unlock these capabilities at the speed of the network."

The Truviso acquisition reinforces Cisco's commitment to delivering intelligent networks and supports its five foundational priorities -- core, data center, virtualization, collaboration, and video -- with differentiated analytics technology. The Truviso team will be integrated into the Cisco Network Management Technology Group.

Specific financial terms of the transaction are undisclosed. The acquisition of Truviso is subject to various standard closing conditions and is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2012.

 

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Cisco Touts Universal Power Over Ethernet (PoE)

April 27 2012 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco News

For over 12 years there have been two ways of getting electricity to devices on your network: From an electrical outlet or from an Ethernet jack using Power over Ethernet.

With the release last year by Cisco Systems Inc. of what it calls Universal PoE, a proprietary version which delivers 60 Watts of power per port over an Ethernet line, the company believes it has opened new opportunities for manufacturers of almost everything that runs of electricity to plug in via Category 5 cable.Cisco-PoE.jpg

On Tuesday, Samsung Electronics showed confidence in the technology by announcing an UPoE version of its desktop monitor for virtual desktops, the 22-inch NC220P.

It is expected to hit the market at the end of May, with a projected street price of US$774.

When it was introduced -- by Cisco -- in 2000, Power over Ethernet offered a mere 7 Watts of power. Common PoE devices are desktop IP phones and wireless access points. Over the years PoE has reached the ability to deliver 30 Watts over Ethernet. 

By doubling that UPoE offers more possibilities. However, it is available only by plugging a module into a Cisco Catalyst 4500E switch, which then connects to approved devices. 

In a conference call with reporters, Joe Angelo, a Samsung business development manager said the NC220P integrates a thin client into the monitor, taking its power and data over one Ethernet cable.

It has four USB ports, a DVI-out port for a second display and headphone and microphone connections.

Angelo said target markets include governments, hospitals and schools.

 

Pradeep Parmar, a senior Cisco marketing manager, said the announcement is more evidence of the acceptance of large organizations of UPoE and how widely it can be used.

For example, he said, UPoE could power telepresence systems or high power surveillance cameras.

Parmar also brought onto the conference call an official from a Japanese company, which is using UPoE for LED office lighting instead of fluorescent lights. Connected to Cisco's Energywise power monitoring software, the solution can make dramatic savings in electricity.

Also on the call was Dwight Holmberg, a regional manager with FieldServer Technologies of Milpitas , Calif., who said the company's gateway for connecting building automation systems can leverage UPoE.

According to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, UPoE is another example of how Cisco tailors a technology to keep ahead of competitors. No other network equipment maker has adopted UPoE or its approach, he said.

"For Cisco, it's important with so much talk out there about the wired network being dead because of all the wireless end points," Kerravala added. "If they can find a whole group of other devices that can connect to the network that aren't traditional PCs, that opens the door for them to open the overall market for wired switches."

---Cisco News quoted from pcworld.com

 

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Cisco Software to Connect Branch Offices to Cloud

April 20 2012 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco News

Cisco next month will release router software designed to improve cloud computing connectivity for branch offices.Cisco-Software-to-Connect-Branch-Offices-to-Cloud.jpeg

Cisco will unveil Cloud Connect on May 22, said CTO Padmasree Warrior during her keynote address here this week at the Cisco Partner Summit. Cloud Connect will run on Cisco's ISR G2 and ASR 1000 routers, and provide visibility, security, availability and performance optimization for cloud connectivity, she says.

The software is designed to improve the user experience with cloud and simplify operations, Warrior says. Cisco will demonstrate the software at the Cisco Live conference in June as well, she says.

Cloud Connect will include software modules called Cloud Connectors. Cloud Connectors will include Cisco applications such as Hosted Collaboration Services and ScanSafe, a SaaS-based Web security service. Cloud Connector software will also allow software developers to write applications to Cloud Connect to expand its capabilities, Warrior says.

Cisco will also soon unveil a product for connecting private enterprise clouds to the public cloud to create hybrid implementations, Warrior says.

The product is designed to maintain the identity, security and policies of workloads as they move form a private cloud into the public cloud.

"Maintaining the consistent policy framework that surrounds that, that's essentially what this product will do," Warrior says.

Warrior did not disclose an announcement date for this product but she indicated it may be ready for Cisco Live in June as well. Together, Cloud Connect and the private/public cloud policy maintainer sound like the Integrated Enterprise WAN Solution discussed early this year by Praveen Akkiraju, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Network Services Technology Group.

 

---Original reading pcadvisor.co.uk

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10 Key IT Trends for 2012

April 17 2012 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco News

If you had to pick 10 technology-related trends that will impact your enterprise infrastructure in the coming year, Gartner says you'd do well to start with virtualization and move to other issues such as social media influence, energy issues and flat networks to name a few.10-Key-IT-Trends-for-2012.jpg

At the Gartner Symposium IT/Expo, David Cappuccio, managing vice president and chief of research for the Infrastructure teams with Gartner, said the Top 10 Trends show how IT is changing in that many of them in the past been outside the traditional purview of IT, but they will all affect how IT does its job in the future.

 

The Top 10 Trends and their impact, briefly include:

1 The evolution of virtualization: Cappuccio says virtualization will ultimately drive more companies to treat IT like a business. The danger during the next few years will be in following a specific vendor's vision, though it is unlikely that any one vendor's vision will prevail. Users should have their own visions of architecture control, and build toward it with a constantly updated strategic plan.

2. Big data, patterns and analytics: Unstructured data will grow some 80% over the course of the next five years, creating a huge IT challenge. Technologies such as in-line deduplication, automated tiering of data to get the most efficient usage patterns per kilowatt, and flash or solid-state drives for higher-end performance optimization, will increase in importance over the next few years, Cappuccio said. Analytics and other systems to monitor for recurring data patterns that could develop into money making applications will also be important.

3. Energy efficiency and monitoring: The power issue has moved up the food corporate food chain, Cappuccio said.  Nascent tools are beginning to roll out that can use analytic tools to watch power usage on a variety of levels.  With the increased attention given to power consumption, it has become apparent that many systems are highly underutilized. At low utilization levels, they use a high percentage of their total energy draw. An average x86 server that is turned on, but idle, will draw upward of 65% of its nameplate wattage, for example.  IT organizations need a clear inventory of what compute resources are doing and what workloads there is the potential for significant waste of energy.

4. Context aware apps: The big question here how to do something smart to take advantage of smartphones.  Gartner has in the past said context-based computing will go beyond the business intelligence applications and truly make a unified communications environment possible by bringing together data culled from social networks and mobile-devices.

5. Staff retention and retraining: Here the idea is developing a plan to get people excited about their jobs enough to stay.  And we'll need is as starting in 2011 an average of 10,000 baby boomers will be eligible to retire every day for the next 19 years, Cappuccio said. Loyalty to one company is not a quality found in new workers.

6. Social networks: Affordable and accessible technology has let individuals and  communities come together in a new way - with a collective voice - to make statements about our organizations, the products/services we deliver and how we deliver them, Cappuccio said. The collective is made up of individuals, groups, communities, mobs, markets and firms that shape the direction of society and business. The collective is not new, but technology has made it more powerful -and enabled change to happen more rapidly Cappuccio said. The collective is just beginning to have an impact on business operations and strategies but most organizations do not have a plan for enabling or embracing it.  Ignoring social networking is not an option, Cappuccio said.

7. Consumerization: The key trend here is the fact that new application types will be developed to address mobile users but they won't be desktop replacement applications.  Still,  a secure, well-defined strategy needs to be put into place to take advantage of this development, Cappuccio said.

8. Compute per square foot:  Virtualization is one of the most critical components being used to increase densities and vertically scale data centers. If used wisely, average server performance can move from today's paltry 7% to 12% average to 40% to 50%, yielding huge benefits in floor space and energy savings.  Two issues that need to be considered going forward are the number of cores per server -- four- and eight-core systems are becoming common, and 16 cores will be common within two years --  and overall data center energy trends. IT will also have to address things like performance/licensing, Cappuccio said

9. Cloud computing While cost is a potential benefit for small companies, the biggest benefits of cloud computing are built-in elasticity and scalability. As certain IT functions industrialize and become less customized, such as email, there are more possibilities for larger organizations to benefit from cloud computing, according to Cappuccio.

10. Fabrics: Gartner defines this infrastructure convergence as: The vertical integration of server, storage, and network systems and components with element-level management software that lays the foundation to optimize shared data center resources efficiently and dynamically. Systems put forth so far by Cisco and HP will unify network control but are not there yet.  

 

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Are IBM, Cisco and Oracle IT Platforms Really Comparable?

April 16 2012 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco News

IBM's new PureSystems integrated data center offering is drawing comparisons to Cisco's UCS and other convergence platforms from leading IT vendors.Are-IBM--Cisco-and-Oracle-IT-Platforms-Really-Comparable.jpg

But is it possible to do an apples-to-apples comparison among them? Even though all offerings from all vendors seek to essentially accomplish the same things -- integrate server, storage and networking, with management and automation - they come from different foundations.

All are attacking the data center convergence opportunity from their respective positions of strength.

"The technical nuances are all different but it is a platform that integrates a few of the distinct silos," says Jed Scarabella of IDC, on the converged IT data center platform market in general. "HP and IBM have something that integrates servers, networking and storage; Cisco doesn't own storage so it is partnering with EMC and NetApp for VCE and FlexPod; and Oracle is...really more of an application platform.

"They're trying to break down these silos because some of their customers are sort of at their wit's end: budgets are flat, and they keep being asked to do more," Scaramella says. "They've got to find a way to rein in their infrastructure."

Scaramella says there are two flavors of the converged data center infrastructure: the virtual platform that's more of an infrastructure offering - like IBM's PureSystem, HP's Converged Cloud, Dell's Virtual Integrated System and Cisco UCS; and the application play, like the Oracle Cloud Computing approach, in which the customer is looking at the application first and the hardware optimized to run that application comes along with it.

Each vendor is building the offering to their expertise, he says.

"IBM's expertise is integration," Scaramella says. "They did come in with a full-fledged, full thought out product."

IBM has broad hypervisor and operating system support, and they worked with a lot of independent software vendors (ISV) for the PureApplication component of PureSystem.

"That's the part the other guys may not have yet," Scaramella says. "That's something where Cisco knows they have to do a lot more with actual ISVs in getting the applications ready. That's where you'll see more announcements from Cisco over the next few years."

Or do they? Some analysts think Cisco deliberately stopped short of piling everything onto UCS.

"I don't think that these are even remotely competitive," says Joel Snyder, senior partner at Opus One. "The UCS approach has nothing to do with the software layered on top of it. It's a way to get servers provisioned fast, and it works well.

"What IBM seems to be doing is building on top of that a variety of pre-provisioned platforms that include more than just computes, but also storage. So there are some parallels, but Cisco is very careful to stop at the limit of what they can do, and they do not reach any further into things like storage."

IBM's PureFlex component of PureSystem seems to be a prebuilt chassis/storage combination intended to run PureApplication software packages, Snyder says. UCS might be more aligned with what IBM's doing with PureFlex but without the optimized application ecosystem of PureApplication.

"While you might be able to do some compare/contrast between Cisco UCS and PureFlex Systems, the PureApplication system is more like VMware and the VM Appliance marketplace they have tried to build," Snyder says. "So, yeah, I'm not seeing apples-to-apples here."

 

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Cisco CEO Chambers: Huawei a Bigger Rival than HP, Juniper

April 13 2012 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco News

Chambers says Huawei is a tough competitor, but doesn’t always "play by the rules," drawing a sharp retort from the Chinese telecommunications vendor.Cisco-Huawei.jpeg

Cisco Systems over the past couple of years has seen the competition in the networking space grow rapidly, from the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks to Avaya and Arista Networks.

But the competitor that apparently is most on the mind of CEO John Chambers is Huawei Technologies.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Chambers said that the giant Chinese telecommunications company, which last year made a strong push into the U.S. market, with hopes of grabbing some of Cisco’s leading market share, was a formidable competitor, and one that doesn’t “always play by the rules.”

 

Chambers’ comments came April 6 during a Journal-sponsored event in California, and in response to questions from reporters. He didn’t elaborate on what rules Huawei had broken. Chambers suggested the issues were around intellectual property.

"When you look at companies, one of the things you don't want to do—lack of transparency—you don't want to have people doubting, will you copy their intellectual property,” he said. “You don't want to have them doubting about is there security issues, etc."

He clarified that he was talking about Huawei in particular, not China itself.

I would not interpret Huawei as China,” Chambers told The Journal. China will protect intellectual property when doing so is in the country’s “best interest. … And that day is coming.”

Chambers’ comments drew a sharp rebuke from Huawei. William Plummer, vice president of external affairs for the company, called the statements “unfortunate,” and said his company has “great respect for Cisco, and, like Cisco, Huawei has earned trust and respect in the over 140 markets in which we do business.”

According to The Journal, Plummer also noted that Huawei has 500 customers who are telecom operators as well as 50,000 patents of its own. "Huawei has a strong history of respect for the intellectual property rights of others, and the protection of our own," he said.

Cisco and Huawei have a history of tough competition, with Cisco reportedly suing Huawei for patent infringement, a case that was settled a year later.

The Chinese company’s networking business made a strong push into the North American market last year, hoping to grab some market share from Cisco and other vendors. It was the latest challenge to an enterprise networking space that has for years been dominated by Cisco. However, over the past couple of years, vendors like HP and Juniper have positioned themselves as lower-cost alternatives to Cisco, and have succeeded in stealing away some share in the switch and router markets, according to analysts. Cisco executives have hit back, saying their rivals only offer “good enough” networking solutions.

Chambers has been quick to point to Huawei as the rival he is most wary of. At the company’s Analyst Day in September 2011, Chambers brushed aside HP, Juniper and Avaya as threats. He had more cautious words for Huawei.

"Huawei—it's going to be a tough one," Chambers said. "Those first three [Juniper, HP and Avaya], I think we have a good chance of completely distancing them and leaving them behind, and I measure our success on whether we do that or not. Huawei is going to be a very tough long-term competitor.”

He suggested at the time that Cisco take the offensive in the competition with Huawei and make a strong push into the Chinese market.

However, Huawei in recent weeks has seen its share of struggles, due in large part of the perception that the company has a tight relationship with the Chinese government and military, a claim the company denies.

Huawei officials in March learned that the Australian government had banned the company from bidding on a $38 billion fiber-optic network in that country. Australian government officials did not say why they placed the ban on Huawei, though reports indicated that the country’s intelligence officers were concerned about recent hacking attacks that allegedly were tied to China.

In addition, Symantec executives last year decided to end a four-year alliance with Huawei, and last month completed the $530 million sale of its 49 percent stake in Huawei Symantec Technologies. The joint company develops network security solutions. Symantec officials last year said it was time for the joint venture to have a single owner. However, reports from The New York Times and others indicated that Symantec officials worried that Huawei’s close ties with the Chinese government would make it impossible for Symantec to receive classified information from the U.S. government regarding cyber-security threats.

---Original reading from eWeek.com

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